Nicholas Cage is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. Whenever he makes a movie, it (and he) could be fantastic, or it (and he) could be complete garbage.
Considering his recent history and his well-publicised financial troubles, I would have bet that his latest film, Seeking Justice, falls in the latter category. The film had little promotion and had generated less buzz, but on the other hand it did have an A-list cast featuring Cage, January Jones and Australia’s most underappreciated Hollywood star (now that Joel Edgerton seems to have finally broken through), Guy Pearce. It also has a couple of TV stars, Harold Perrineau (from Lost) and Jennifer Carpenter (from Dexter), is co-produced by Tobey Maguire, and is directed Roger Donaldson (not exactly a slouch with films such as The Bank Job, Thirteen Days, Dante’s Peak, Species, The Getaway, Cadillac Mac, Cocktail, No Way Out and Bounty under his belt). I was intrigued.
As it turned out, Seeking Justice is somewhere in the middle — neither great nor trash. It tells the story of Will Gerard (Cage), who, after a violent crime, becomes unwittingly involved with a sinister underground organisation that is into dishing out vigilante justice — with a hefty personal price. Jones plays his wife and Pearce is one of the leaders of the association.
It’s the type of film that probably would have gone straight to DVD had the big names not been attached to it (perhaps some might still think it probably should have gone straight to DVD). It is aptly handled, with decent performances (with the exception of Jones, whom for some reason keeps getting these ‘young wife to middle aged dudes’ roles — she can’t act) and some genuine tension stemming from a cleverly crafted illusion that there is more of a mystery than there actually is. It also avoids (and I think this was the right decision) any real intellectual debate on the merits of vigilante justice, which helps prevent viewers from being misled into thinking that Seeking Justice is anything more than light entertainment.
And ultimately, that’s exactly what Seeking Justice is — a passable action-thriller that is occasionally entertaining but nothing special and, when it’s all said and done, extremely forgettable. Sad that’s considered pretty good for Nicholas Cage these days.
3 out of 5